Be a Santa to a Senior® is a nationwide gift-giving initiative, established in 2003, by Home Instead. The program allows businesses and individual Canadians to provide small gifts to vulnerable seniors that may spend the holiday season without a gift or visit.
Typically, businesses participate by setting up a tree covered with notes from seniors who are asked to make their gift request. The asks are modest – grocery gift cards, blankets, hats, gloves, toiletries, non-slip socks, and Kleenex, for example. Employees and customers select a tag and purchase the requested gifts which are carefully collected and brought to Home Instead where volunteers ensure the gifts match the request, wrap them all and deliver them in time for Christmas.
This will be the 18th year EngAge BC member, Home Instead in Port Coquitlam, has run the program locally. Throughout those years they have provided gifts to lonely, isolated or financially challenged seniors – one year delivering over 2000 gifts.
Likewise, Home Instead Burnaby is continuing their four-year long partnership with London Drugs. Additionally, as a novel idea to bring more cheer to seniors in 2020, his team have engaged the Chaffey-Burke Elementary school in Burnaby, whereby students will be preparing personalized postcards for each senior, alongside the gifts that are being purchased by the community.
Those interested in participating in Home Instead’s Be a Santa to a Senior initiative are asked to visit their website here.
Here are some of the things Home Instead owners had to say about participating in the program:
“This holiday season is different for everyone. We have had to make some modifications this year in order to comply with social distancing and safety precautions, but we are still committed to getting gifts to seniors. Already the team has collected donations from the Port Moody Police Department.”
Doug Mix, Home Instead Co-Owner, Port Coquitlam
“Seniors have been isolated by COVID and it is more important than ever to show that they are not forgotten.”
Kim Lepp, Home Instead Owner, Vancouver
“It is a huge undertaking. But the enthusiasm of the donors and gratitude of the recipients make it all worthwhile. Seniors are happy and amazed to receive such nice gifts.”
Judy Costiuk, Home Instead Co-Owner/Managing Partner, Port Coquitlam
“It is a privilege to serve our community and working to ensure that needy and isolated seniors haven’t been forgotten is the best gift we can offer.”
Harpreet Singh, Home Instead Owner, Burnaby